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i'm not understanding why so many here have the notion of letting elderly people sleep until they eventually just die off..my mother is 92 and depressed and very lonely by the fact she cannot stay awake long enough to visit with loved ones or friends.if anything is going to kill her it's the lonliness and depression of sleeping 13 to 19 hours a day then being awake for only 2 to 4 hours..just long enough to eat and watch a few tv shows and not even in a fully awake mental state.she has expressed her wishes to be able to stay awake and visit and go eat every day at her favorite restaurant and do the thrift shops again.she broke her leg in april of 2016.before that she was energetic ,got around great,sometimes with her walker sometimes without.She tells me NOT to let her sleep so much but then if i get her up she falls asleep anyway and cannot stay awake.she has a power wheelchair she was getting around in for a while but now recently it's harder to keep her awake long enough for her to enjoy going out..she's wanting to sleep before i even get her out the door. Is there any way to keep her awake so she CAN visit and get out and do the things she wants to do?? if anything kills her it won't be illness,it will be the lonliness and depression of not being able to stay awake to be with family and friends and lead a somewhat normal life anymore.Last night she began talking to me about this and i didn't know what to tell her..she told me she misses going to walmart and shopping with me and going to the thrift stores and she said she wants to be able to stay awake to do these things..in no way am i going to tell her she probably cannot ever do them again.i feel there must be some way to keep elderly people awake who WANT to remain awake to do these things. she has night hours instead of days,as my awake hours are nights.we switched her around so that we're up the same hours so i can get her off disposables by putting her on the toilet when she needs to go.that was successful.she pees while asleep,but i keep pads on the bed and then i get her up after 10 hours of sleep and the rest of the night she uses the portable toilet.she can now 'hold it' long enough to get there,whereas she wasn't able to hold it before recently.even though i let her sleep for 10 to 13 hours daily she sits in her chair and can't stay awake..she dozes off constantly and during those rare times she is awake for an hour or more , she expresses her wishes to have the ability to remain awake and visit friends and family and do things with me like she did everyday for decades ,up to a little less than year ago.surely there must be a way to enable elderly people who want to remain awake, to stay awake long enough on a daily basis to enjoy their lives.It's the lonliness and depression of not being able to remain awake to visit with loved ones, that will kill my mom,not illness or old age.We have always been a "brady bunch" family even though it's just my dad my mom and me and my sister..now there's just my sister and me and my mother.my father passed on last november at 97 years old.my sister lives out of state and my mother has lived with me since march of 2016.she fell and broke her leg in april.her cane slipped on a doggy pad and down she went.absurd but true.my mother is 92 and was very active and sharp minded until her fall and surgery .Any advice is helpful.She doesn't want to lay in bed the rest of her life sleeping until she just dies one day.. and i don't want that either.

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Robert, it is pretty normal for someone who is 92 and not in the best physical condition to sleep a lot. Don't be upset or disappointed. She wants to do the things she did when she was younger, and you want her to be able to do them, but the reality is that she is 92. No matter how we wish it, they are not going to be 40 again. If she is only awake for a few hours a day, enjoy the time she is awake. I wouldn't put too much pressure on her or yourself to try to make things like they aren't. Just accept how it is and work with that. What you described is actually fairly normal for someone later in life.
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Jessie, what you wrote hit home with me. I really WANT to be as active and productive as I was 30 years ago -- or even 10 years ago. I'm working on improving my current "laziness" -- but I have to accept that I can't turn back the calendar 30 or even 10 years ago!
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RobertRay, first my heartfelt sympathy to you and your family at the recent passing of your Dad.

As for your Mom, boredom, grieving, and meds will make one very sleepy.   If you read the side effects of any of Mom's pills, I bet half of them say it can cause sleepiness.   Then thrown in Mom's age at 92, and napping is going to happen.

Any time I would stop over to visit my parents [also were in their 90's living in their home] I would catch them napping.   I would sit and chat until they dozed off.

Once my Mom passed, Dad was quick to move into Assisted Living as he wanted to be around people of his own age, and have all new ears to listen to his stories :)   He loved it there.   If he wanted to, he could get on the community bus and go to whatever store the bus was going to that day.   There would be an Aide and the Driver to assisted the people.  Plus meals in the common dining room with his tablemates. 
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My husband had sleep disturbances during his years with dementia. His doctors prescribed something to help him sleep through the night, and also something to combat excessive daytime sleepiness. For us this improved the quality of his life a lot!

As the end neared, he slept more and more. When he was on hospice I tried to make the most of the times he was awake, but I did not wake him up.

Have you discussed this problem with her doctors? For us, a pharmaceutical solution worked well. Obviously this wouldn't work for everyone, but I'd definitely get a medical opinion. Depression tends to make people want to sleep a lot. Perhaps treating Mom's depression would improve the excessive sleepiness issue.
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Robert, my mother is 91 and has some of the same problems. Just a few notes:1. Try to work her sleeping hours back around to nighttime - being awake all night she has no friends to talk to, it can become a problem. 2. Check all her meds and put the ones with "causing sleep" to right before her bedtime. Others in the AM. This seems to help.
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I would request from her doctor blood work, and an assessment of all of her medications, including vitamins and other supplement. When it is daytime, open the blinds and let the sun in, let her and her body know it is time to be awake. Have a radio set on her preferred type of station, something to stimulate her. Ask friends or neighbors to bring their young children or grandchildren over to visit for a few minutes. The sound of children playing, and their natural inquisitiveness, is good for isolated or depressed people. It's great that your mom has you!
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Umm. If I was regularly exposed to the sound of children playing and their natural inquisitiveness, I think I'd think I'd died and woken up in purgatory. I've had enough gleeful squealing and relentless interrogation to last me, thanks. Bless the little dears.

Mom2mom, my mother too was a great one for saying that she "wanted" to do those things she believed active, civilised and definitely non-senile people ought to want to do. E.g. she made a visible effort to take an interest in gardening. The truth of it was that the beauties of botany left her cold and always had; but it wasn't until her dementia advanced quite a way that this was almost comically laid bare. "Very loud, daffodils," she remarked. "I've never liked daffodils." She meant loud as in garish - she wasn't that cracked! - but even so. Poor old daffodils.

It will be good for your morale as well as hers if you have a range of possible activities to suggest; but for heaven's sake don't burst a blood vessel over it: encourage, don't force. We kept up the book group - one proper novel and a meeting over supper once a month - until pretty much the end; but Singing For The Brain, seated exercise classes, even shopping trips, those all became nice in theory but not when it was time to get in the car. She went off a lot of her favourite films, too, which was really sad.

Music seems to last, if your mother has enjoyed that; and it's versatile too so you can adapt it to her mood.

I think you have it right. If dozing in her comfy chair makes her happier than anything else, all you can do is be glad she's happy. And hope there will be a few more, livelier days to come.
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Dear Robert,

You are a very kind and loving son. I know you want what is best for your mom. I would have a doctor review her meds and blood work. Is she dehydrated? Not eating enough? Is this contributing to her tiredness? I know its hard to watch so many elderly people sleep so much.

In my case, my father was suffering from heart failure. He was dying and I didn't know it. It was the reason he was so tired and sleeping so much. He had also stopped eating and drinking. And looking very dazed. In hindsight, I wish I was more pro-active like you and asked more questions. I would try taking her out for walks or even to the mall for a little. Maybe a change of scenery would do her good. And give her a mental boost.
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Mom is coming home from rehab today and I also have some upcoming staffing changes with the caregivers. I am struggling with sleep issues as well. Mom LOVES napping. She wants to sleep all of the time. Part of me says that if that is how she wants to spend the last of her days, so be it. But when I ask her what she wants, she says that she want to live life. She wants to get out of the house and do stuff. I suspect that she is just saying that because she thinks that is what I want to hear.

I am going to try to get her on a schedule of waking up and getting out of bed in the morning and limiting her naps somewhat. I am going to try to schedule outings other than jus the doctor. But, I will have to reassess in a couple of weeks and see if that really seems to be what she wants and if she prefers to sleep her life away, I will just have to accede to her wishes.
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First I would consult with the medical people as to what could be done. Then if she sleeps, the only thing you could do is wake her up and make her get interested in something immediately. It is true at 92, people do slow down but it does not have to be that way. I am 83 and aside from the fact that I can't walk without holding onto a walker or being in an electric wheelchair, I REFUSE to give in to my age. I still hold two jobs (one for 46 l/2 years and the other for 12 years - I love them both). And I take college courses on line, go swimming, and go out to eat constantly - by myself - don't know a soul who wants to do anything. I will NEVER give in to naps and sleeping and all that. I want to cram everything I can into my life until my last breath. It can be done. Good luck.
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